EJ Obiena articles & safety reminders for Pole Vault

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EJ Obiena articles

EJ Obiena, Birthday Gift National Junior Record & Safety Reminders for Pole Vault, 2012


It is a special feat in itself breaking a National Junior Record, even more unique when you break your own National Junior Record but also throw in the fact you have two more years left to improve on it.  Two weeks ago EJ Obiena achieved all of that at the Weekly Relays.

Obiena set the National Junior Record now at 4.40m, his mark shattered the 4.31m mark he leapt at the Filipino Chinese Meet in February and hence is a new Junior National Record. This achievement also is very unique has it happened on his 17th Birthday. EJ was born on the 17/11/1995.

EJ  who is a freshman at Ateneo, has the next goal to go after the UAAP Record which is held by training partner Jerome Margallo at 4.30m set 6 years ago. The 4.40m jump gives EJ confidence going in as the favorite next week.


EJ Obiena (Left) warms up with his Ateneo fellow Vaulters at Uni Games in Bacolod



EJ has had an impressive up and down season. Firstly breaking the Junior Record at the Filipino Chinese meet with a leap of 4.31m, and then at an indoor meet in Taipei leaping 4.41m. A severe stress fracture in the Tibia side lined EJ in a cast for most of the year forcing him to miss the Palaro and National Open meets. Coming back from injury EJ was able to edge out Palaro Record Holder Adel Valdecenas (DLSU) winning on count back at 4.20 during the weekly relays.  It was however Adel who would reverse the situation at the Uni Games in Bacolod winning again with 4.20 on countback. EJ claimed the silver here.
In Thailand EJ claimed silver in the Junior Pole Vault with a leap of 4.25m.


Progress of EJ Obiena

2010 Palarong Pambansa Silver

2011 4.05m Singapore Schools


4.31m Filipino Chinese Meet (NJR)

4.41m Taipei Indoor (NJR Indoor)

4.20m Silver University Games Bacolod

4.25m Silver Thailand Open Juniors

4.40m Weekly Relays (NJR)


A Vaulting Family and legacy Event

EJ is the son of national coach, national champ and masters record holder Emerson Obiena, the 48 year old is still an active jumper and this was actually the first season he has been finishing behind  EJ. Also Uncle Edward Obiena is the NCAA Record Holder in Pole Vault with a life time best of 4.55m and was a bronze medalist in the Decathlon in the SEA Games. Ironically Edwards best ever Vault was at his final appearance at the SEA Games where he actually surpassed the bronze medalist in the individual pole vault. Also EJ  younger sister Emily is showing signs of becoming a great pole vaulter when she leapt 2.80m.

It has been a splendid year for Philippine Pole Vault which continues to outshine other events. With PPVC, Mike Pelaez Athletics, and Fil-Heritage athletes producing some very strong depth in the event. Already Caleb Monticalvo and Julio Alorro have surpassed the SEA Games 4.70m bronze medal performance in 2011, with Caleb likely to eclipse the National Mens Record of Lasquette. Caleb and Julio ranked 2nd and 3rd in South East Asia this year.

The strong depth in Mens Pole Vault has seen no fewer than 9 Male Vaulters over 4.00m this year.

In the Womens Riezel Buenaventura has also made the Bronze standard tying the 3.90m at a meet in Taipei. That makes 3 of the 12 athletes who made sea games standards in 2012 Vaulters.

In the Junior Womens category Fil-Heritage Alyana Nicholas (3.20) and Natasha Nalus  (3.00) two 18 year olds have surpassed and currently hold the junior  records. Now that Alyana has secured Filipino dual citizenship it entitles her to records.

Safety Reminders for Our Pole Vaulters

Article by Emerson Obiena
SAFETY REMINDERS FOR OUR POLE VAULTERS Pole vaulting is often perceived by many as a dangerous activity, Though there are far more higher statistics of injury in other sports, when accident do happen in pole vaulting, it can side line you for a season or more. That is why it is very important that we understand why they happen and do everything possible to prevent them.
With our limited available facilities, we often find ourselves training altogether in one place that is Ultra Track oval in Pasig which is open to the public. While it is uplifting to hear and see spectators cheering and clapping when a pole vaulter clears a bar, it is very discouraging to see a pole vaulter having a close call or falling back to the ground instead of the soft landing pit and hurting them selves.
If a pole vaulter OFTEN barely land inside the landing pit, obviously there is something wrong and the probability of that athlete having an accident is high. As coaches it is our duty to make sensible decisions with the SAFETY of our athletes FIRST in our mind.
As an athlete or a coach, being aware of the risk of this sport doesn’t mean you are “soft” as others might think, It’s true that a pole vaulter should be “brave” but not “Foolish”. We only have one body and we are not like salamanders that can regenerate limbs. Having a healthy respect to this sport had helped me become a better athlete and let me enjoy this sport until now. Vault high, vault safe!!!
About the author: Emerson Obiena is a national coach and one of the founders of the Philippine Pole Vault Club. He is the countries #2 All Time Pole Vaulter (4.95m) and holds the Asian Masters Record.


EJ Obiena soars to new Heights in Hong Kong, 2013

Again a National Junior Record. EJ Obiena on his way to SEA Games selection.

Again a National Junior Record. EJ Obiena on his way to SEA Games selection.

18 year old Ernest John Obiena within a week shattered his own Philippine National Junior Record again. Obiena cleared 4.90m at the Hong Kong Inter City meet on June 30, eclipsing the 4.75m mark he set last week. This puts EJ in very certain security of the second spot for the SEA Games, with the first going to Fil Heritage vaulter Caleb Monticalvo 5.10m (needs secure Phi Passport). EJ retains his spot #5 all time just tucked in behind another Fil Heritage Vaulter Julio Alorro 4.91m (last year), 4.82m this year.

Obiena won the gold at the Hong Kong open, while his father and coach Emerson Obiena took silver with 4.20m.

In the Womens Division Riezel Buenaventura took the gold with 3.80m, but missed the height of 3.92m (3.90m needed to qualify for SEA Games). Emily Obiena finished second with a new best performance of 3.00m, and National Junior Record Holder Natasha Marie Nalus the other Filipina competing fourth in a seasons best 2.90m.


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